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Applesauce adds goodness, cuts fat

Recipe: Healthy muffins are less messy, too

Muffin pan with muffins in green, yellow, blue cups
Applesauce muffins, fresh from the oven, make a healthy snack or breakfast bread. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Muffins were made for breakfast on the go. They're just as perfect for afternoon snacking. Why? Those carbohydrates offer a quick energy boost.

This recipe substitutes applesauce for milk and most of the oil, cutting down on fat while adding more good-for-you nutrients.

These easy muffins have a baking powder biscuit-like texture and smell delicious while baking. When cut, they don't fall apart into a bunch of crumbs, making these muffins less messy, too.

3 muffins on a yellow plate
They look yummy and smell delicious.
Applesauce muffins

Makes 12 large muffins


2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup raisins
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Demerara sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin. Lightly grease cups or use silicon cup liners.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in raisins.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Blend in brown sugar. Add applesauce, then cooking oil and vanilla.
Make a well in the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. With a wooden spoon, stir until just blended. Don't overwork batter.

Spoon batter into prepared cups of muffin tin. For large muffins, fill cups about 3/4 full. If desired, sprinkle Demerara sugar or additional brown sugar on top of each muffin.

Split muffins on yellow plate
The muffins feature raisins, but dried cranberries or
currants work just as well.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown; a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool a few minutes before removing from tin. Best served warm.


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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